Woke up early to watch the 2016 UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Koksijde? The event was cancelled due to strong winds, and all involved are disappointed. To ease the pain and still serve up some epic sand dune cyclocross racing without the strong gusts of wind, we’re resurfacing the unforgettable men’s race videos and report from last year. Enjoy.
KOKSIJDE, Belgium–Sven Nys (Crelan AA-Drink) showed the crowds in Koksijde why he has dominated the sport for over a decade, taking his 50th Elite World Cup victory in a display of classic form, beating out Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice Golden Palace) in round three of the 2015 World Cup series.
World Champion Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus), returning from knee surgery resulting form an injury sustained at the Tour de l’Avenir this August, made the initial surge in the second lap, riding through a steep section that others could not.
Van Aert was quick on the heels of the World Champion, using one of the signature sand sections of the course to move ahead in the next lap. Sensing the urgency, Nys emerged from a large group of chasers, taking up the helm to reel in van Aert.
By lap four Nys had managed to bridge the gap, pass van der Poel, and make contact with van Aert in what would become a showdown of the generations.
Neither rider wanted to allow the other to dictate the line through the course’s ever changing terrain and time and again van Aert tried to shake the veteran. Van Aert used his punchy acceleration to his advantage but Nys would not be outdone, consistently pushing a higher gear to power through the straightaway sections and sand pits.
Further back, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), Lars Van der Haar (Team Giant-Alpecin), Laurens Sweeck (Era Real Estate-Murprotec), and Van der Poel formed the chase group, trading places as each rider tried to outmaneuver one another for third place.
Nys put in an attack in lap six but Van Aert was able to close it down as the pair approached an injured Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), an early contender, who had crashed in one of the sand sections and was removed from the course by medical personnel.
It was now Van Aert’s turn to attack going into the last lap. Van Aert picked his line perfectly through a short, steep section. Nys was forced to dismount but reconnected and passed Van Aert soon after only to be leapfrogged again as the pair approached the muddy straights leading to the finish.
Nys was in the rear as the pair emerged from the woods, but in a final dig Nys edged to the right of the course to pull along-side Van Aert initiating an all-out drag race to the tarmac. Demonstrating his sheer power, Nys turned onto the tarmac in the lead to claim an elated victory.
“It’s awesome,” said Nys. “It’s a great feeling because it’s a victory against the best in the world.
It was a tough match. This is a high point in my career,” added Nys referring to the fact that this will indeed be his last season as a professional racer.
Van der Poel was next to emerge onto the finishing stretch to take third, having surged ahead of Van der Haar and Sweeck in lap seven.
The win puts Nys second overall in the World Cup standings with 215 points, just five points behind van Aert. Van der Haar follows in third place with 200 points after round three with Pauwels and Sweeck in fourth and fifth places respectively.
The sole US representative in the Elite Men’s category in Koksijde, Robert Marion finished 50th on the rugged Koksijde course.
Full 2015 Koksijde UCI Cyclocross World Cup Race Replay:
2015 Koksijde World Cup Elite Men's Results
|2||Wout VAN AERT||BEL||21||1:02:43|
|3||Mathieu VAN DER POEL||NED||20||1:03:45|
|4||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||24||1:03:51|
|9||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED||24||1:04:39|
|11||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||29||1:05:06|
|15||David VAN DER POEL||NED||23||1:06:10|
|28||Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ||ESP||36||1:08:27|
|30||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||26||1:08:54|
|42||Michael VAN DEN HAM||CAN||23|